Hope athletic programs dominate their fall seasons

Author: Grace Rossman

Temperatures dropping, snow falling, and winter on the horizon means that this season of fall sports is wrapping up. Some teams have completely finished their season, while others are still playing, like the women’s cross country team, who qualified for nationals after finishing in third place at regionals. Women’s cross country coach and recently-awarded MIAA Coach of the Year Mark Northuis reflects on the successful season and the hard work that got them to nationals. “[One] highlight for me was that everybody was healthy to run the conference meet,” Northius said. “We were the only team in the conference who had everybody healthy which demonstrates that the team trained well.” 

As the men’s soccer team’s season comes to an end, Jake Lyons (‘24) reflects on the ups and downs from the fall. “One of the biggest highlights of the season was beating last year’s national champions, The University of Chicago. It was extremely rewarding to see our training and prep come into play against a team of that caliber,” Lyons said. 

Ranked third in the country, the women’s volleyball team is still out on the court, finishing their MIAA semifinals with a win and headed to regionals. For Eva Hartung (‘26), beating Hope’s rival, Calvin, was a highlight from the season. “With those wins we learned a lot about ourselves because they are pushing us to be a better team,” Hartung said. “We keep getting better each weekend when we play and I’m excited to see where the postseason takes us.”

As the Director of Athletics, Timothy Schoonveld has seen the players of all teams demonstrate motivation, dedication, and determination throughout the season. As the season comes to a close, he wants to express his appreciation for all student athletes. “I am so proud to serve with all of the coaches and athletes to create opportunities that transform lives,” Schoonveld said. “It is so impressive to see athletes that are successful both in the classroom and within their sport.  Beyond that I think we have amazing students who are doing great things in the lives of each other. Keep serving and doing things with excellence.”

Women’s Cross Country

The women’s cross country team started the season strong, with five runners placing in the top 10 times, at their first meet. Mid-September, they secured a third place ranking at the Wheaton College Gil Dodds Invitational, five of their runners ranking in the top 31 times. The team tied for first place in their conference, which sent them to regionals, where they placed third. With this achievement, they qualified for nationals in Pennsylvania. The team’s coach Mark Northuis earned the title of the MIAA Coach of the Year award for Women’s Cross Country, and Rebecca Markham (‘24) was named MIAA most valuable runner.

Men’s Cross Country

September brought many successes for the men’s cross country team, including a third place finish at Wheaton College Gil Dodds Invitational. In October, the team placed second at the MIAA championship, where they qualified for regionals. Four runners, Gabe DeYoung (‘24), Connor Vachon (‘25), Carston Cole (‘26), and Ian Petruska (‘26), were recognized at the championship, earning All-MIAA honors. The team finished in fourth at regionals, the best performance at NCAA regionals since 1991, securing a spot at nationals in Pennsylvania. 


The volleyball team has had a successful season, ending the season with only two losses and 27 wins. They became MIAA tournament champions after winning against their rival, Calvin University, with a score of 3-0, advancing the team to regionals. This season, MIAA honored four players on the team, Lauren Lee (‘26), Alison Deweerd (‘25), and Kamryn Burbridge (‘27), with Addie VanderWeide (‘25) as Most Valuable Player. 

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team began their season in late August with a win against Calvin University. The team finished sixth at the first MIAA event of the season with a team score of 351. The next day, the team won eight of nine matches at the DAP cup, earning another victory against Calvin. At the NCAA Midwest Region Fall Classic, they placed seventh out of 33 competitors. During their second MIAA Jamboree, Abby Fansler (‘24) earned medalist honors for her impressive performance, shooting a 75.

Men’s Golf

Men’s golf opened their season with third place at their first invitational. They followed this with two first place finishes over the course of the two-day Strawberry Creek Classic, beating 20 competing teams. The team continued their impressive ranks by placing first, second, and third at the next three MIAA Jamborees. They advanced to the NCAA Region V Showcase in Indiana placing fourth and fifth out of 16 competitors. 

Men’s Soccer

With a six-game win streak, the men’s soccer team ended their season with 11 wins, four ties, and three losses. On October 3, Griffin Brown (‘24) made the game against Adrian one for the books with a hat trick, the fourth ever in Van Andel Soccer Stadium’s history. The game ended with a score of seven to one. They ended their run with a loss against The University of Olivet during the MIAA tournament quarterfinals. Seven players were chosen for the All-MIAA Men’s Soccer Team. Matt Wimmer (‘24), Cole Pauly (‘26), Ethan Jansen (‘24), Jake Lyon (‘24), Daniel Hesselbein (‘25), Mario Hrvojevic (‘25), and Josh Weigel (‘27) all received this honor. 

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer team wrapped up the season with 10 wins, two ties, and six losses, finishing second in the league. They played hard for a win in the MIAA tournament semifinals against Trine University, with a score of two to one, earning them a rematch against Calvin University. The final game went into overtime, but Calvin took home the tournament trophy after a shootout. Five players secured the All-MIAA title, including Carley Wagasky (‘25), Ainsley Harris (‘26), Madison Holloway (‘24), Clara Feenstra (‘27), and Jenna Mustapha (‘24) who made history as a four-time honoree. 

The football team ended the season with eight wins, two losses, an impressive five game winning streak, and finished second in the league. The streak was broken against Alma College during the Homecoming game, but shortly after, they secured their biggest win yet at 63 to 17 against Kalamazoo College. Throughout the season, two players received an honor from D3football.com, with a spot on their Team of the Week, Terrell Harris (‘24) and Nick Flegler (‘26). 

A peek into next season: Women’s Swim and Dive

Women’s swim and dive is gearing up for their upcoming season, and already taking the pool by storm, beating Kalamazoo 178-51 and The University of Olivet 180-29. Sara Kraus (‘25) made an especially big splash in Chicago at the D3 shootout, setting a national record for fastest 200-yard backstroke. She is now ranked first in the nation, and hopes to keep this spot at the top as the season goes on. “To be competitive this early in the season nationally is really exciting for me,” Kraus said. “I think my team really pushes me to be my best and encourages me and [I’m] working, putting in the effort as much as I can. Getting up early to do those practices and those lifts isn’t always appealing, but it’s nice to see that that work pays off.”

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